Hospital trials new bug-buster

By Patrick LowmanREVOLUTIONARY new products which could save thousands of lives by tackling killer winter superbugs are being piloted at a Suffolk hospital.

By Patrick Lowman

REVOLUTIONARY new products which could save thousands of lives by tackling killer winter superbugs are being piloted at a Suffolk hospital.

The West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, is currently using the new products in a trial to battle potentially fatal bugs such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and the winter vomiting disease.

During winter months superbug infections often leave wards overcrowded and last year the Bury hospital ranked 27th out of 124 acute general hospitals for reported cases of MRSA. Staff at the hospital are hoping the trials are a success and so they can wave goodbye to the killer bugs.

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The products have been developed by Bury St Edmunds firm NewGenn Research, which is confident its new alcohol-free, anti-bacterial foam products can save thousands of lives - and the NHS an annual £250m.

The company's scientific director Dr Harley Farmer, who has been developing the new products with the aid of a £500,000 Government grant over the past 10 years, said: "We are the only company in the world beating the winter vomiting disease and these products kill off the bugs associated with MRSA.

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"We have five different foam-based hand washes, wipes for surfaces and cleaning products for floors and medical instruments. These products are not medical treatments, they are designed to kill off the bugs before the infection can spread.

"If we can get enough hospitals to use the products we anticipate we can break 25% of the infection with the first 12 months, meaning we could save around a thousand lives. The figures will then increase every year and we will save 2,000 lives in the second year and 3,000 in the third. We will also ease the financial burden on the NHS because by beating the bugs it will save around £250m a year."

A two-week trial of the products is now being carried out at the West Suffolk Hospital and after that the company is to take the product, which has not yet been named, nationwide before launching it internationally.

"These products are revolutionary and will make an enormous impact world-wide. If you use alcohol-based products it will kill off the germs in seconds by destroying it from the inside out. It is capable of breaking the hospital infection cycle. It will stop the superbugs before the infections can spread. We have got unbelievable stuff here," added Dr Farmer.

West Suffolk Hospital's senior infection control nurse Jill Cerny said: "It is quite exciting. It is nice to see a local firm supporting the hospital. We will have to wait and see if it works as well as they say, this is the first step."

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